Vatican - Marriage with a surprise: Pope Francis celebrates

17 July 2018

(ANS - Vatican City) - "It was an extremely interesting surprise, a wonderful experience!" Fr Renato dos Santos, a Brazilian Salesian priest, serving at the Vatican's Dicastery for Communication, enthusiastically narrates the episode he witnessed last Saturday, July 14, at the church "Santo Stefano degli Abissini" in the Vatican: the Pope who, to everyone's surprise, decides to celebrate the marriage of a Swiss guard and his Brazilian girlfriend.

The most surprised of all, said Fr dos Santos, were the other priests who concelebrated, as the spouses were aware of the choice of Pope Francis. "Never in my life would I ever have thought of entering the sacristy of a chapel of the Vatican and finding there the Holy Father sitting, smiling, happy, joyful, very natural. It was he himself who made the decision to preside over this marriage," testified the Salesian.

Initially, the chaplain of the Pontifical Swiss Guard was to preside over the celebration, and for this reason the priests present in the sacristy began to wonder if the Pope had come only to "say a few words, leave a message." Great was their amazement, therefore, to see that "the Pope was there to preside over the celebration."

This choice of the Pope, together with his manner, characterized by "inner serenity, simplicity", the Salesian continues, were an evident sign of the Pope's attention to "the sheep of his parish, like a true parish priest."

"He used to do these things often as a parish priest, as a bishop and as a cardinal in Buenos Aires, but here in the Vatican it is the first time that I see him personally celebrate a marriage," said Fr dos Santos.

In the homily, as usual, the Pope presented three key words: "to begin", with reference to the new life as a couple undertaken by the spouses; "Stop", in the difficult phases, to have the courage to look each other in the eyes and forgive; and "resume the journey", deciding to continue to love each other.

At the end of the celebration, Fr dos Santos commented to the Holy Father: "What nostalgia for the time of the parish!" And Pope Francis promptly replied: "It is precisely why I came here!"


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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